IUF | Coca-Cola Workers Network | Monthly : April 2006

US: CCE appoints former InBev boss Brock as CEO

Coca-Cola Enterprises, the world's largest soft drink bottler, has appointed John Brock, former CEO of InBev, as its new chief executive. Mr Brock will replace John Alm, who resigned in December. Brock stepped down from InBev in January after three years as chief executive. Last March he pocketed his share of the 31 million Euro (almost 37 million US dollars) the company paid to him and two other departing top executives while axing 360 jobs from its operations in Belgium and France at the same time and refusing the alternative plans proposed by the unions.
Brock joined InBev (Interbrew at the time) after executive roles at both Cadbury Schweppes and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group.

Source: FT

Coca-Cola Enterprises, the world's largest soft drink bottler, has appointed John Brock, former head of InBev, as its new chief executive. Mr Brock will replace John Alm, who resigned in December, following months of disappointing performance by the company.

The appointment marks the first time CCE has recruited its chief executive from outside the Coca-Cola system, underlining the company's search for fresh talent and ideas as it seeks to revive its fortunes.

Mr Brock stepped down from InBev in January after three years as chief executive.

He was responsible for turning the Brussels-based producer of Stella Artois and Beck's into the world's largest brewer by merging Interbrew with Brazil's Ambev in 2004.

Before joining Interbrew, Mr Brock was chief operating officer of Cadbury Schweppes, the UK-listed confectionary and soft drink producer.

CCE is the biggest bottler and distributor of Coca-Cola products in the US, UK and France.

Lowry Kline, chairman of CCE, has been acting chief executive since December.

He will continue as chairman when Mr Brock takes charge on May 15.

Mr Kline said Mr Brock's three decades of experience managing operations, marketing and brands in the beverage industry made him "uniquely suited" to the job.

"John's knowledge of both the brand and bottling sides of our business is a powerful combination," he said.

Mr Brock promised to lead the company into a new era focused on "topline growth".

By Andrew Ward in Atlanta

Source: just-drinks

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has named former InBev boss John Brock as its new president and CEO. The move marks a return to soft drinks for Brock, who spent just over two years at InBev after executive roles at both Cadbury Schweppes and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group.

Brock, 57, is set to take up his new role on 15 May, replacing chairman Lowry Kline, who had also filled the role as interim CEO.

Kline, who stays on as CCE’s chairman, said: “John’s knowledge of both the brand and bottling sides of our business is a powerful combination that will benefit our unparalleled distribution network and brand portfolio to drive value for our shareowners.”

Brock said he would help CCE “focus on topline growth” and added: “Coca-Cola Enterprises is at an exciting point in its 20-year history, and I look forward to building on the company’s rich legacy and strong foundation.”

CCE is the world’s largest bottler of Coke products, selling 80% of the company’s volumes in North America, as well as holding the Coke franchise in Belgium, continental France, the UK, Luxembourg, Monaco, and the Netherlands.

GERMANY: Coca-Cola workers hold warning strikes

On April 20 workers awave of warning strikes at Coca-Cola Germany reached its preliminary climax. At virtually all locations in Germany (in over 20 cities) work was stopped for 2-3 hours, the second such action after a first one on April 13.
The industrial action is to support the demands for employment guarantees and higher wages at the company put forward by the German Food Workers Union NGG. The next round of negotiations will take place on April 27.
(From materials of the NGG newsletter).

US: Coca-Cola Meets With Holders - Upcoming changes in bottling operations management

Source: The Associated Press

"We want The Coca-Cola Co. to be the best employer everywhere in the world that it operates" Isdell said during the company's annual meeting at a hotel in Wilmington, Del. but Teamster member said "workers are underpaid and overworked and often pressured into working overtime".

Coke reiterated that it has made changes to its operating structure to create a new, separate internal organization for its unconsolidated bottling investments.The company added that starting Jan. 1, it granted its bottling partners in Spain the rights to manufacture as well as distribute company trademarked products in cans. The company has previously held these rights. Coke said it will reduce future marketing support payments to the bottlers.

ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Co.'s nearly two-year restructuring to put legal problems in the past, improve employee morale and stabilize the world's largest beverage maker around a common vision is complete, Chief Executive Neville Isdell told shareholders Wednesday as the company reported a 10 percent increase in first-quarter profit on flat revenue.

"We're well on our way to becoming the company you expect us to be," While he was speaking, about 50 demonstrators, including college students, Teamsters and activists, protested outside.

Activist critics have accused the Atlanta-based company of labor abuses in Colombia and environmental abuses in India, despite the company's aggressive public relations campaign to counter the claims.

Isdell said he welcomed the discussion, but urged those who disagree with the company's practices to be civil.

"Not everyone in this room is going to agree with everyone's views," Isdell said.

But he said almost everyone wants the same thing.

"We want our economies to grow. We want living standards to increase. We want The Coca-Cola Co. to be the best employer everywhere in the world that it operates," he said.

He added, "We want healthy, active consumers. We want to protect our planet and preserve our resources. In the end, we truly want The Coca-Cola Co. to be regarded as a great business and recognized as a great corporate citizen."

The company's earnings narrowly beat Wall Street expectations.

Coke said it earned $1.11 billion, or 47 cents a share, for the three months ending March 31, compared to a profit of $1 billion, or 42 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, Coke said it earned $1.16 billion, or 49 cents a share, in the three-month period. That was ahead of the 48 cents a share analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting it to earn in the quarter.

Revenue in the January-March period was $5.23 billion versus $5.21 billion a year ago.

Coke said unit case volume increased 5 percent companywide in the quarter, led by strong growth in China, Russia and Turkey. The company said it also had a solid quarter in North America and Latin America. Offsetting these results were unit case volume declines in the Philippines, India and Africa.

The company said it saw growth in its carbonated beverage, water, sports drink and juice brands.

Outside the annual meeting in Delaware, one of the protesters, Michael Gould-Wartofsky, a 21-year-old Harvard student from New York City, said Coke needs to be more accountable to its consumers and investors.

Holding a pair of drumsticks and beating on a plastic barrel on a sling across his shoulder, he said he also wants the company to be more accountable to the schools where it does business.

Others used bullhorns to make noise.

Teamster member Peter Rovetto, 52, of Jonas, Pa., who said he worked as a merchandiser for Coke in New Jersey, said the company needs to treat its employees better.

"Workers are underpaid and overworked and often pressured into working overtime," he said.

Activists were offering a tapwater challenge to passers-by to demonstrate that Coke's Dasani bottled water product tastes no better than municipal tap water but is much more expensive.

At the meeting, which was broadcast on the Web, shareholders voted to re-elect all of the board members to another one-year term, except for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who decided not to seek re-election after 17 years as a Coke director.

Three shareholder proposals presented at the meeting were rejected.

Also Wednesday, Coke reiterated that it has made changes to its operating structure to create a new, separate internal organization for its unconsolidated bottling investments.

The company added that starting Jan. 1, it granted its bottling partners in Spain the rights to manufacture as well as distribute company trademarked products in cans. The company has previously held these rights. Coke said it will reduce future marketing support payments to the bottlers.

The business model shift in Spain resulted in a reduction of revenue there, but Coke said the change did not materially affect gross profit.

Coca-Cola shares rose 39 cents to close at $41.69 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have traded in a 52-week range of $39.36 to $45.26.


Associated Press Writer Randall Chase contributed to this report from Wilmington, Del.

WORLD: Coca-Cola Reports First Quarter 2006 Results

Source: Bloomberg

Coca-Cola Co., the world's largest soft-drink maker, said first-quarter profit rose 10 percent, bolstered by gains in Asia and Latin America. Sales were unchanged. Net income jumped to $1.11 billion, or 47 cents a share, from $1 billion, or 42 cents, a year earlier, when profit was cut by a tax expense. Revenue was $5.23 billion, the Atlanta- based company said today in a statement.

Sales volume surged 15 percent in Asia, helped by gains in China and Russia. In Latin America, volume jumped 7 percent on demand for Coca-Cola Classic and Fanta. Sales were hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar and declines in Spain and Germany. In North America, volume rose 2 percent.

``Coke really needs to execute better in Europe and North America and get soda volumes up,'' said Amy Bonkoski, an analyst with Cleveland-based National City Corp.'s private client group, which owns 3.2 million Coca-Cola shares among $33 billion in assets.

Coca-Cola said profit last quarter was cut by 2 cents in expenses for its bottling operations in Asia. Excluding one-time items, Coca-Cola earned $1.16 billion, or 49 cents a share, in the first quarter, one cent better than analyst estimates.

Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Mark Swartzberg, who is top- ranked for accuracy by StarMine, estimated profit of 48 cents a share. The average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was also 48 cents. Thomson doesn't disclose the parameters of its estimates.

Lagging Behind PepsiCo

Shares of Coca-Cola rose 26 cents to $41.40 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock gained less than 1 percent in the year through yesterday. Shares of PepsiCo, the world's second largest soft-drink maker, rose 6.6 percent.

Worldwide volume rose 5 percent, helped by a 2 percent increase in North America, Coca-Cola's largest market which accounts for 30 percent of sales.

Revenue in North America climbed 7.7 percent to $1.6 billion, led by volume gains of 10 percent or more for Powerade and Dasani. Soft drink sales rose, Coca-Cola said, without giving a precise figure.

North Asia Sales

European Union sales dropped 21 percent to $873 million, hurt by a 1 percent decline in volume in Germany, negative currency exchange rates and a transfer of manufacturing rights to its Spanish bottlers. That cut revenue by $154 million.

Sales in North Asia dropped 9 percent to $850 million because of a 2 percent volume decline in Japan and negative currency exchange. Total volume in the region rose.

Revenue in Latin America increased 22 percent to $603 million after volume rose 7 percent. Volume in Africa declined 2 percent, and sales rose to $276 million.

Volume was unchanged in East and South Asia, as gains in Australia were muted by declines in India and the Philippines. Sales rose 14 percent to $212 million.

Coca-Cola repurchased $499 million of stock during the first quarter and said it plans to buy back as much as $2.5 billion this year. The company raised the quarterly dividend 11 percent, to 31 cents a share from 28 cents.

Marketing Changes

Chief Executive Officer E. Neville Isdell boosted marketing for low-calorie drinks such as Powerade Option to win drinkers from rival PepsiCo Inc. He also introduced new advertisements for Coca-Cola Classic and debuted coffee-flavored Coca-Cola Blak to try to reverse soda sales declines in the U.S. and Europe.

Sales at Coca-Cola have risen an average of 3.4 percent in the past five years as consumers have shunned soft drinks. PepsiCo's have risen an average of 5 percent as it has become the leader in noncarbonated drinks such as Gatorade, Tropicana and Aquafina water and expanded into snacks including Doritos chips.

Isdell last year increased Coca-Cola's marketing and new product development budget by $400 million to create new drinks such as flavored sparkling Dasani water and promote sodas including Coca-Cola Classic and Sprite. Coca-Cola spent $2.48 billion on advertising in 2005.

Marketing Chief Mary Minnick last month debuted new ads for Coca-Cola Classic featuring taglines such as ``Live on the Coke Side of Life'' to revive sales of the company's No. 1 drink.

The new ads will increase Coca-Cola Classic's volume this year, said Katie Bayne, senior vice president for Coca-Cola brands in North America. She declined to give a specific forecast. The drink's volume dropped 2 percent to 1.8 billion cases in the U.S. last year, according to Beverage Digest.

Shrinking Market

Coca-Cola is battling for a share of a shrinking market. The overall soft-drink industry fell 0.2 percent to 10.2 billion cases, the first drop in at least 20 years, according to Beverage Digest. Last year, Coca-Cola's soda volume in the U.S. declined 0.1 percent to 4.4 billion cases.

Isdell, 62, also introduced more profitable drinks during the first quarter such as Tab Energy and Coca-Cola Blak, which costs about $2 per bottle, three times as much as a can of soda.

In February, Coca-Cola returned as a Super Bowl advertiser after an 8-year hiatus with new ads for Full Throttle and Vault energy drinks.

``New drinks can really help bump sales, and Coke has been creating a lot of them lately,'' said John C. Thompson, who helps manage more than $2 billion including Coca-Cola shares at Thompson Investment Management LLC in Madison, Wisconsin. ``At the end of the day, though, Coke needs to sell more Cokes.''

Of the 19 analysts who track Coca-Cola, eight have a ``buy'' rating, nine say ``hold'' and two recommend selling. Of the 18 analysts who follow PepsiCo, 16 say ``buy'' and two say ``hold.''

Coca-Cola has met or exceeded analyst estimates in each of the past five quarters.

Longtime Coca-Cola director Warren Buffett is expected to step down today at the company's annual meeting. He has been on the board for 17 years.

Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta

US: Coke chief says turnaround "on-track"

Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Coca-Cola Co. chief executive Neville Isdell said today (19 April) that the US drinks giant was 'on-track' in turning around the business after posting a slight increase in first-quarter sales and earnings.

Coke posted first-quarter net income of US$1.11bn, up from US$1bn last year. Revenues rose slightly to US$5.23bn, an increase from the US$5.21bn reported in the first three months of 2005.

“We are on track to deliver our objectives,” Isdell said during a conference call today. Case volumes rose by 5% on a global basis, led by “strong growth” in key emerging markets including China, Russia and Turkey.

“Strong growth in our Latin America group and our other emerging markets, along with another solid quarter in North America, is helping to drive our business,” Isdell said.

He added that he had “confidence” that a range of new products and marketing initiatives recently launched by Coke would drive sales growth in the months ahead.

“Since the end of 2005, we have introduced significant new products, including Coca-Cola Blak in France and the US, Coca-Cola Zero in Australia and Tab Energy, Vault, Dasani Sensations, and Simply Lemonade in the US. In North America, we launched the first fully integrated, cross-media campaign for Brand Coke in our company's history, ‘The Coke Side of Life’, supported by an increased level of marketing investment.”

Isdell added: “These strong introductions, combined with the equally strong pipeline of innovation in both our carbonated and noncarbonated beverage brands, give me confidence that we will achieve our business objectives and, in doing so, create sustained growth and value for the benefit of our shareowners and other stakeholders.”

Sales and earnings, however, slumped in Europe due to falling volumes in Germany and the transfer of canning rights to Coke’s bottlers in Spain.

ROMANIA: Coca-Cola HBC doubles net profit

Source: Daily News Romania

Coca-Cola HBC Romania, the bottler of the Coca-Cola beverages for the Romanian market made more than 38 million euros in net profit in the first 11 months of last year, almost double the profit for all of 2004, writes Ziarul Financiar.

The 11-month result was published in the Official Gazette, in a financial statement that the company used for a project to merge with Societatea de Imbuteliat Coca-Cola Galati.
According to the same statement, Coca-Cola HBC's net profit in Romania was 139 million euros (504 million RON) at the end of November. The Coca-Cola officials did not care to comment on the results and did not provide financial data for all of 2005.
"The financial performance of Coca-Cola HBC Romania can be judged through the results derived by the Coca-Cola HBC Group. Romania had a major contribution that kept constant over the past few years, regarding the maintenance and improvement of the group's results. The market in Romania has numerous opportunities, as it is a dynamic market," stated Mugurel Radulescu, Public Affairs & Communications Manager with Coca-Cola HBC Romania.
Coca-Cola HBC Romania posted a 17 percent increase in the volume of sales last year, two times greater than in 2004. If the quantitative pace of growth is the same in terms of value, Coca-Cola HBC Romania's total sales could exceed 260 million euros for all of last year.
As a comparison, the turnover of Coca-Cola HBC Romania exceeded 220 million euros in 2004, according to Finance Ministry data.
The net profit posted by the Romanian subsidiary in the first 11 months of 2005, according to the Official Gazette, accounts for nearly 12 percent of the total profit of the Coca-Cola HBC Greece group.
The profit derived by Coca-Cola HBC Greece (the main shareholder of Coca-Cola HBC Romania) was nearly 320 million euros, 26 percent higher than in the previous year.
According to the official financial reports of the Greek group, the profit continued to grow in Romania, at the same pace as in the last few years, as a result of the large volume and revenues, given that costs maintained stable.
"Coca-Cola HBC Romania, as part of the global system, has created the possibility to permanently interact with other producers on the international market," Radulescu says.


GREECE: Lanitis suffers losses in 2005

Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Recently-acquired Cypriot bottler Lanitis Bros posted pre-tax losses of CYP942,755 (US$2m) in 2005 compared with a pre-tax profit of CYP427,590 in 2004.

The losses were despite a higher turnover, of CYP58m for 2005, compared to CYP51m in 2004, but were attributable to higher operational expenses.

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), based in Greece, completed the acquisition of Lanitis following a tender offer to increase its stake in the company to 95.43% on 7 April.

CCHBC has applied for the de-listing of Lanitis’ shares from the Cyprus Stock Exchange, allowing it to acquire the remaining shares not tendered in the offer.

US: Steady Growth at Coca-Cola Despite Bottling Worries

Source: www.forbes.com

Coca-Cola’s operating income should continue to grow by 8% in 2006, driven by growth in U.S. and emerging markets and higher prices, says UBS analyst Caroline S. Levy.

Levy maintained a “buy” rating and $53 price target on Coca-Cola stock.

In the U.S., Coca-Cola should see sales grow by 6%, driven by volume growth, pricing increases, and growth in high-margin energy drinks like PowerAde, Levy wrote in Monday’s research note.

She added that the World Cup, taking place in Germany, should boost lagging sales in Western Europe in the second quarter.

Coca-Cola has also raised prices in China, the European Union, India, and other markets, largely to cover raw material costs. In the U.S., retail pricing so far in 2006 is up 4%. The price increases should expand Coca-Cola’s margins and make it possible to increase concentrate pricing in 2007.

Meanwhile, Levy says Coca-Cola can expect to see improved profits of around $20 million this year from its bottling investments, which cost the company $56 million and $33 million in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and decreased earnings per share by a penny both years.

Despite the drag on profitability, Levy says ownership of certain bottlers has been worth it. Buying out bottling operations has in some cases been a necessary condition to turning around underperforming markets.

Such an investment may be necessary in the Philippines, where ongoing distribution issues with Coca-Cola’s bottling partner San Miguel has led to an 8% volume decrease in 2004 and 2005. The current contract with San Miguel expires at the end of the year and the company’s 65% stake in Coca-Cola’s bottling operations in the Philippines is worth around $650 million.

Still, overall revenue growth at Coca-Cola will be slightly offset by foreign exchange movements, Levy warns. The euro and the Japanese yen look set to depreciate by 8% and 11%, respectively, year-on-year versus the dollar. Together, the two currencies make up 50% of Coca-Cola’s profits and could have a 4 percentage point negative impact on 2006 profits.

Mary Crane, 04.17.06, 4:57 PM ET

THE PHILIPPINES: Coca-Cola Unions expose false "redundancies" as unfair labour practice aimed at destroying regular jobs, expanding precarious employment

In the lead-up to May Day, the IUF-affiliated Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions Philippines (ACCUP) is launching a new challenge to the "creeping redundancies" that have replaced regular employment with outsourcing and contractualization.

In the coming weeks ACCUP affiliates will issue letters to management in Coca-Cola bottling plants and sales offices expressing their concern that "several positions declared redundant in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 are in fact not redundant, but are currently staffed by employees hired on a contractual basis or through outsourcing/third-party contracting."

Coca-Cola operations in the Philippines are run by Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCBPI), a joint venture between The Coca-Cola Company and the San Miguel Corporation.

The unions are demanding that copies of redundancy letters issued by the CCBPI management to union members from 2001-2005 be made available to the union. These letters clearly state that union members' positions are redundant, requiring them to accept a separation package or transfer within 24 hours. Yet in several cases cited by ACCUP members, these positions were not redundant, but were immediately filled with workers hired through subcontractors and labour agencies.

In several cases, these "redundancies" included forklift operators, refrigeration operators and transportation operators whose positions are explicitly described in Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) as "regular" employees covered by CBA provisions.

ACCUP leaders argue that since most union members were only shown their redundancy letters (but were not allowed to retain a copy) it appears that management is intent on hiding the evidence.

"Union members accepted separation packages, transfers or even early retirement based on their belief that their positions were redundant and there was no choice," ACCUP leaders declared at an ACCUP-IUF campaign meeting on 6 April 2006. "But they were deceived, because their positions still exist today. And these positions are filled with workers hired through contractors and labour agencies, which means they are excluded from CBA coverage and are denied the right to union membership."

THE PHILIPPINES: ACCUP supports seven legal cases against labour-only contracting, will fight "all the way to the Supreme Court"

On 7 April 2006, the IUF-affiliated Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions Philippines (ACCUP) declared its support for the seven separate legal cases against "labour-only contracting" filed by five unions since 2000.

Since 2000, the General Santos Coca-Cola Plant Free Workers Union (GSCCPFWU), the Iloilo Coca-Cola Plant Employees Labor Union (ICCPELU), the Royal Plant Workers Union – Cebu (ROPWU), the Coca-Cola Sales Force Union – Maycauayan (CCSUM), and the Samahan ng mga Mangagawa sa Coca-Cola (SAMACOKE) - all ACCUP members - filed cases in the National Labour Relations Commission (NLRC) against Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc (CCBPI) for illegally outsourcing work under "labour-only contracting". CCSUM and SAMACOKE have earch filed two cases in the NLRC.

Labour-only contracting is illegal under the Labour Code of the Philippines. This was further clarified in a Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) Order in 2002, which explicitly states that labour-only contracting is prohibited. This refers to an arrangement where a contractor or subcontractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job, work or service for a principal and where the contractor or subcontractor does not have substantial capital or investment related to this employment or does not exercise the right of control over the performance of the work of the contractual employee.

In 2001 CCSUM filed a case against CCBPI for its unfair labour practice, whereby the outsourcing and labour-only contracting introduced by the company led to the dismissal of 22 union members and forced resigation of 70 more union members. This means that the Third Party Delivery (TPD) system (now called GTM) led to loss of regular jobs and reduction of union membership. The manner in which it was carried out, including refusal to bargain and violation of CBA provisions and forced resignations (e.g. unfair transfer) led the union to claim that these practices were "malicious and harmful to the union."

The Iloilo Coca-Cola Plant Employees Labor Union (ICCPELU) filed its case in the NLRC following an inspection by the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) on 24-25 July 2002 that confirmed that CCBPI was engaged in labour-only contracting. On 8 August 2002, DOLE summoned the management of the Coca-Cola plant in Iloilo to a conference to discuss its findings. Despite this evidence documented by DOLE itself, the NLRC ruled against ICCPELU's complaint, forcing the union to take the matter to the Court of Appeals. Four years later - in February 2006 - the routine labour inspection by DOLE again found labour-only contracting but has not yet made its findings available to the union. ICCPELU is now planning to file a new case with the NLRC that will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

In its 7 April 2006 resolution, ACCUP declared: "Recognizing that the Labor-Only Contracting has a direct and negative impact on the job security and livelihoods of Coca-Cola workers throughout the Philippines, we hereby support the pursuit of these cases through to the Supreme Court, where we believe justice will prevail."

GREECE: CCHBC closes Lanitis offer

Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) has successfully completed its tender offer for the outstanding shares in Lanitis Bros and now owns 95.43% of the Cypriot bottler.

CCHBC now intends to apply for a de-listing of the Lanitis shares from the Cyprus Stock Exchange and acquire the remaining shares that were not tendered in the offer.

CCHBC managing director Doros Constantinou said: “We are pleased that we have completed this acquisition.

“Lanitis Bros is truly a total beverage company with a strong portfolio of products. It has a long, successful tradition as the market leader in Cyprus, and we are delighted to welcome the Lanitis Bros organisation to CCHBC.”

FRANCE: Coca-Cola unit names Christian Polge president

Source: Stuart Todd

Coca-Cola France has appointed Christian Polge as its new president.
He succeeds Paul Gordon who has been named as director of strategy for Coca Cola at a European level.
Polge, 40, previously held the position of vice president, commercial and operational marketing director at Coca Cola Entreprise, which makes, packages and distributes Coca-Cola products in France.
He was elected president of the French Institute of Merchandising (IFM) in July 2005.

COLOMBIA: Successful Collective Agreement Signed at Carepa

After a difficult bargaining process between IUF-affiliate SICO and Bebidas y Alimentos de Uraba, Coca Cola franchised bottler, both parties managed to reach an agreement.

Such difficulties emerged from the denunciation of the previous CBA by the management intending to erase most union rights, added to the management’s attitude with little will to enter genuine bargaining.

A two-year agreement was finally signed, which includes most of the workers’ demands: improved union rights and job security, 12% wage increase (well above other CBAs in the beverage industry) permanent job for all previous temporary workers and their unionization, agreement not to outsource sales routes, provisions on job descriptions, creation of a fund for housing purposes, and new benefits for workers in the field of health care.

This CBA is the result of an arduous work by the bargaining team, both in terms of negotiations with the local management and its internationalization, first at regional level, and later at the global level, including senior Coca Cola Company executives and union representatives.

The local union welcomed this agreement and the determination of the IUF Regional and General Secretariats to support their struggle.